It shouldn’t come as a major shock to anyone, but Yolanda has now heard from a handful of sources that the legally-embattled and cash-strapped firm known as Woodbridge Investments is actively looking to sell their entire portfolio of Los Angeles properties. Just last week, several of the city’s top agents — we’re talking the créme de la créme of real estate salespeople — quietly received a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the bankrupt company.
Apparently Woodbridge is asking all these folks to submit a pitch for why they should be the broker to sell off the company’s holdings. For now, we will wait to see who (probably more than one agent) winds up with the job. And what Yolanda wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at these particular listing presentations!
Securing the Woodbridge gig would make any real estate agent’s wildest wet dream come true, Yolanda thinks. Folks must be frothing at the mouth to get this job. After all, the company owns dozens and dozens and dozens of ultra-prime properties all across LA, though most of them are located in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and the Bird Streets. But there are others, as well — at least five parcels in Hidden Hills (CA). And then there is that $35 million Mount Olympus palace.
We have also been told by a well-placed source that at least three Woodbridge properties — two of them located in Trousdale Estates — are already quietly in escrow off-market and will soon transfer to new owners at eight-figure sale prices. When the dust finally settles, that is. Remember, any sale of a Woodbridge pad will have to be approved by the bankruptcy court.
The now-deposed king of Woodbridge, Robert Shapiro, still clings to the crown jewel of his kingdom: the Owlwood estate of Holmby Hills, which he bought in 2016 for an amazing $90 million, an amount that remains the fourth-largest price ever paid for a residential property in Southern California. To whom and for how much this property will be sold remains the biggest question of all.
While all the Woodbridge-owned homes are located in ultra-prime areas, Yolanda wonders if many of them will have to be sold at losses. While they were rollin’ in the dough, Woodbridge was known for paying top-dollar for just about any potential development site and then doing absolutely nothing to improve the properties. And demand for LA luxury residential development sites, while still very strong, just isn’t as insane as back in the 2014-2015 heyday.
But more importantly, Yolanda is worried about the impact the Woodbridge sell-off might have on the high-end market. The sudden glut of available development parcels a simultaneous sell-off could bring might effectively cripple demand everywhere. Are there even enough rich investors out there looking to buy all these properties? Yolanda kinda doubts it.
Perhaps we are are just paranoid. But as we noted back when Woodbridge first bought Owlwood — long before the Ponzi scheme allegations first surfaced — there is somethin’ shady in Memphis. Turns out we were right. And not to toot our own horn, but Yolanda has learned to trust our instincts.
Let’s see what happens.